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Autobiography of My Dead Brother

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  828 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Printz Award winner Walter Dean Myers has written a realistic urban novel that probes a fatal crisis in the life of two boys. Jesse, the book's narrator, and Rise are best friends, but as time passes, Rise grows increasingly alienated and unpredictable. Living in a neighborhood where gang fights and drive-by shootings are almost commonplace, Jesse wonders whether he and hi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Amistad (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,862)
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Carrie Lawler
Jul 16, 2009 Carrie Lawler rated it it was amazing
Ah, another fabulous book! Set in Harlem, it centers around a group of teen boys that have to make important life choices. The protagonist, Jesse, narrates using first-person pov. Rise is Jesse's "blood brother" who begins to take interest in the gang lifestyle that he and Jesse always said they would avoid. Along the way, Jesse begins creating an autobiography of Rise through sketches. Sketches are thrown throughout the book, along with some comics, that compliment the plot and the characters o ...more
Book review

Christopher Jordan 12/3/08

The book that I have finished is a novel called Autobiography of my dead Brother. This story is by award winning Walter Dean Myers. This story is fiction and the main theme of this story is even your own best friend can change on you by the surroundings as drugs, gun, gangs and the only thing you would have to fall back on is your family.
Autobiography of my Dead Brother is based on a fifthteen year old black male name Jesse. This story takes place in Harlem
Nov 10, 2009 Kamrin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yal-2009
I picked this book up because it's an award winning book, and because I love Walter Dean Myers. This reminds my of Diary of a Wimpy Kid in that it has some graphics, but I wouldn't call it a graphic novel. It is a story about Jesse and Rise. Two blood brothers who are learning how to deal with the fact they're growing up and growing apart. They live in Harlem and are members of a "club" not a gang. When a series of drive-bys start happening around the neighborhood, it separates the two brothers ...more
Oct 06, 2008 Cassandra rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shae N.
Jan 09, 2011 Shae N. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
i thought this was thee best book that i have read so far becuase i can really really really relate to it. in the book these kids are in a gang, that part doesnt relate to me but i know people who are in a gang. one of the kids are trying their hardest to keep out of the gang banging thing and he is also trying to keep his best friend/ brother out of it too. one of the main character decides that he will wirte an autobiography about Rise, his brother. the one reason why i really relate to this b ...more
May 07, 2010 Caroline rated it really liked it
I've been semi-avoiding any Walter Dean Myers books the past few years because they hit way to close to home, if by home I mean school. Working with the kids that I do and living the sadness, anger, and frustrations of Black youth on a daily basis, I don't generally jump at the chance to read about it for fun. However, this title was one I'd chosen for my classroom library because I thought it sounded interesting and I found it to be an intelligent and insightful portrayal of life in the inner-c ...more
Utterly relatable characters, real dialog, and the tension between two blood-brother friends who are making decisions about how involved they want to be in the gang lifestyle of their neighborhood make this a stand-out in urban fiction. I listened to the audio version, and narrator J. D. Jackson does an outstanding job of bringing Jesse and his friends and family to life. Walter Dean Myers had such a feel for urban teens, and it shines through in this story.
Romelo Mangum
The book that I’m reviewing is Autobiography of My Dead Brother by Walter Dean Myers and was published in 1998. The main character, Jesse, is a teen aged male that lives in the slums of Harlem, New York City. He Narrates his everyday life and how he escapes his struggles by drawing and painting. He’s in a youth group called the Counts and the leader “Rise” wants Jesse to draw pictures for his autobiography. Jesse agrees to do it, but soon finds out that Rise is now a drug dealer and not the pers ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Calvin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tees
Book Review:
I truly enjoyed reading this book I have just finished by Walter Dean Myers. The book is "Autobiography of my dead brother" It is a fiction novel and has won awards. I believe the main theme of this book is about how close people even your best friend can switch up on you so easily because of the influence of drugs, gangs, and struggle to live, but the one thing you can always rely on to come through to support you is family.
"Autobiography of my dead brother" had a setting in Harl
Apr 23, 2016 Mikayla rated it really liked it
The thing about many of Myers' books is that in order to appreciate them, you have to understand who he is writing to. Unless you have personally experienced the trauma, relationships, city life, and naivety of his characters, you won't like or understand his stories.

That being said, I think Autobiography is a beautiful text. The incorporation of the graphics helps to create a visually-stimulating story that is almost too real for a fiction book. But nonetheless, much of Myers' books are uncann
Cara Byrne
Jan 09, 2015 Cara Byrne rated it it was amazing
As with his other works for young adults and children, Myers does not hold back with this novel. The very first scene features Pastor Loving leading a funeral service for a young man, stating, "Lord knows we are tired of burying our young men" (1). The accompanying illustration, which is also on the initial page of the book, is that of a dead fourteen year old, with his hands crossed and the message "Bobby Green R.I.P." written next to him. The rest of the novel follows this trajectory - followi ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Joe rated it liked it
The Counts are just a social club until their leader goes to prison and attempts to persuade the boys to retaliate on his behalf. Rise, the self-appointed replacement, says the club won't do the other boy's bidding, but even Jesse, whom Rise tasks to write an autobiography, sees the subtle differences that make his childhood friend unrecognizable. What Rise says and what Rise does are at stark odds, and the former social club just might find itself in the middle of a gang warfare.

It's a quick re
Alexis Guidry
Feb 28, 2014 Alexis Guidry rated it it was amazing
In Harlem, Autobiography of My Dead Brother follows the brotherly friendship between Rise and Jesse. Rise, taking the wrong path, becomes a gang member and a drug dealer. Jesse, on the other hand, becomes a great artist and tries to understand the complications of a true friendship. Also dealing with his neighborhood getting so gang-involved he tries to keep art his get away from everything negative around him.
This award winning book gets my fifth, sixth, and seventh star. A great book for tee
"It was news but it wasn't a surprise."

The story of one teen's rise and fall on the gang-ruled streets of upper Manhattan, told through the eyes of his childhood friend and comic artist.

This story will capture the attention of teens who crave action and violence in their stories, but it also gives thought-provoking insight into the what leads regular kids into the path of violence. It held my attention consistently, making me sad and making me think.

"One day I seen me standing in the cold by th
Kayla Baker
Feb 13, 2015 Kayla Baker rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-1-12
Set in Harlem New York this is the story of Jesse and his blood brother Rise. The boys along with some of the other friends have a club to keep them from the gangs. But sometimes people change and for whatever reason people you knew very well are no longer the friend you thought.

I loved this book. I love New York. I knew the setting very well. When he mentions the streets and places I know them. I have been there too. The illustrations are great. They make you think and give the book an edge. I
Mar 09, 2014 Arthur rated it really liked it
The autobiography of my dead brother, is about a child named who has lost his brother in a drive-by. This book is about his life and what he went through without his brother. The thing that attracted me to this book is it's depressing cover. You might think this book is a depressing story, but it's not. This book takes place in Harlem where crimes are often committed. My favorite quote is "Damn, she loved that fool more than she loved me". This quote represents how much the mother loved the son ...more
Sep 06, 2013 SeanV CLC rated it really liked it
Pretty good book, had a lot of slang language I didn't understand... Reasonably violent, has lots of gang wars, violence, discrimination. It is also reasonably sad.
Miri Kennedy
Apr 08, 2015 Miri Kennedy rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-13-25
This book was told through different mediums-- through drawings and narration. The story is about a boy whose best friend is going down some wrong paths, and he can see it just by the way his personality has changed. He draws his friend in various ways, trying to understand why his friend is so different. He feels like his friend is hiding behind a mask. This story shows the terror of living in an unsafe neighborhood with gangs and drive-by shootings. I understand that there are people out there ...more
Apr 26, 2010 Shanae rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read in my entire life.
May 02, 2015 Alexina rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-read, battle-books
Synopsis: Jesse, a 14 year old, is growing up in a hood of New York. He struggles with the fact that his best friend, Rise, is falling into drugs and gangs. Jesse struggles with doing what's right and still being loyal to Rise.

This book started out interesting but it all seemed a little too fast and emotionless for me. I didn't react much to what happened to Rise at the end and I couldn't identify with Jesse, which makes sense. I'm not a 14 yr old, African-American living in New York.

I'm not su
Jun 05, 2013 Christie rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
While this wasn't a book I particularly enjoyed, I absolutely see its merits. Autobiography of My Dead Brother is the story of 15-year-old Jesse who grows up in a violent New York neighbourhood. He's smart, talented and although he's got all the typical teenage issues - he's not going to make decisions which adversely impact his life.

His best friend is Rise. Rise is seventeen and he and Jesse have been friends since they were little.

"His mother likes to tell me that when Rise first saw me, he wa
Apr 27, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adults
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to meet Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers (who drew the artwork for this book) and they both signed my copy! Walter Dean Myers grew up in Harlem, and I can't help but wonder how much of this story is based on actual events and how much of this story is complete fiction...

Told from the first-person point of view of Jesse, a 15-year-old boy who "fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of his blood brother, Rise, and his comic strip, Spodi Roti and Wise, as
Urie Louissaint
Oct 04, 2011 Urie Louissaint rated it liked it
This book has a start like I have never encountered in a book before. It starts of in a church, with people mourning a death of a young male who was shot and killed in the neighborhood. It continues on about a relationship about two friends, one of which is a character named Rise he is older and begins to change as a person throughout the story. Even the relationship between him and Jesse, the character to basically narrates the story. He describes their relationship as a brotherly type feel, t ...more
Jonathan Nonnemacher
Jul 16, 2011 Jonathan Nonnemacher rated it really liked it
"Autobiography" is another good story written by Walter Dean Myers. In my opinion, Myers is one of the best writers - within the urban realism genre and just teen writing in general. Another book by Myers, "Scorpions" was required reading in 8th grade, and I still remember liking that book a lot.

"Autobiography" is about Jesse, a teen in Harlem with a talent for art. He struggles with two conflicting paths ahead of him - staying on the straight and narrow, or being pulled into a world of drugs, v
Jake B
Jan 23, 2013 Jake B rated it it was amazing
Right from the title of the book, Autobiography of my Dead Brother, instantly caught my attention. The more I read this book by Walter Dean Myers, the more I couldn’t stop reading. It is an emotional book with an unsuspecting twist that would make anyone who read this book love it. The story of each character can leave an emotional feel on the reader.
This book is told through the mind of Jesse, the fifteen year old main character. The book opens dramatically at his best friend’s funeral. Jesse
Steven Jones
Apr 13, 2010 Steven Jones rated it really liked it
This book is powerful, both in its text and its illustrations. The subject matter is very real (and very violent, if that sort of thing bothers you) but what I like most about it is the honesty. The book is written as more of a journal than an autobiography and Jesse deals with some serious stuff in the book. However, the book is not filled with extreme emotion, but instead Jesse's somewhat complacent attitude about death and violence (although he obviously disagrees with it) is what is so power ...more
Jay Robinson
Sep 12, 2013 Jay Robinson rated it it was amazing
Autobiography of my Dead brother is a great book. It relates to kids who are brought up in a negative environment and shows how that type of environment can influence a kid to make bad decisions. Rise was that kid in this book. He hung around the wrong people, and they had a negative influence on him. His bestfriend Jesse was the main character, and the kid that truthfully didn't want to have to deal with gangs and all that trouble, but because his "blood brother" was there, so was he.
Rise go
Apr 24, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, 5201, heavy
Lit. class review:

This title was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005, but has otherwise gone unnoticed by the rewards committees. II was interested in reading one of Myers’ less known books. It is illustrated by his son, Christopher Myers, who won the Caldecott Award for another of their collaborations. The illustrations are a mixture of gritty and cartoon-like comic book sketches. I wonder if the images will be used to advance the story or simply to expand upon it.

p. 72 – Jesse is a b
Nov 14, 2008 Smaileh rated it it was amazing
Jesse is a young African-American teen growing up in the 'hood. Rise is an older boy who has been Jesse's friend since forever; they even did the blood brothers thing when they were little. Well, Jesse was too scared to actually cut his finger but when he fell and scraped his knee, Rise cut his finger and they mingled blood then. They are as close, if not closer, than actual brothers. But lately, Jesse has been noticing a change in Rise.

Jesse and his friends have a social club, the Counts, which
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Stacie Williams
Stacie Johnson

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi
More about Walter Dean Myers...

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